God's Not Dead but Christian Movies are sure trying to kill Him.
Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Why many movies embraced by Evangelical Christians are doing more to tear down the kingdom of God than build it up.
Before I start, I have to tell all the plot from God's Not Dead, which is a 2 million dollar budget "Christian" film that grossed 64 million and is considered a major success. SPOILERS AHEAD:
--- A student who is steadfast in his faith takes on an angry professor in a class debate about whether or not God exists. Over the course of the film, the kid doesn't have any character arc. He believes what he believes at the beginning and simply tells everyone repeatedly throughout the movie. The big bad professor on the other hand, who has been a staunch athiest all of his life, ends up having a huge character arc, going from militant atheist at the beginning all the way to following Jesus at the end. And "the end" is a climax where he's hit by a car, says the sinners prayer and dies in the street as Christians smile and sing "GOD'S NOT DEAD, HE'S SURELY ALIVE..." --Roll Credits.
This movie was championed by many Christians and it made 32 times it's original budget... But watching the ending reminded me more of The Wicker Man than a movie I would recommend to my friends. Have you seen The Wicker Man? No, not the Nic Cage version, I mean the original 1973 version...
Okay fine, but I'll have to do ANOTHER ROUND OF SPOILERS to catch you up:
----The Wicker Man is about a staunch Christian who goes to an island where a pagan cult lives to investigate a report of a missing girl. As he's there he yells his theological positions loudl: how he is right, how there is a God, and how all the cult members were going to hell. But in the end though, there was no missing girl at all. They use the Christian investigator as a pagan sacrafice and burn him alive in a giant man made of wicker. As he screams in terror, questioning his belief in God, the islanders hold hands and sing a happy song around him with smiles on their faces. -- Roll Credits.
Do you see the similarities here? Now, someone might say, it's fine they are similar because the evil culture used The Wicker Man to show a Christian turning and burning to atheism and God's Not Dead shows an atheist turning and dying to Christianity. Same thing right?
Here's the difference: The Wickerman is considered one of the greatest horror movies of all time, meant to chill and disturb you to your core. God's Not Dead is meant as a feel good movie for Christians to reinforce a harmful version of our belief system.
And here's that harmful belief system: It plays into the "us against the world" mentality, which is a skewed spiritual perspective supported inn-errantly by scripture (John 17:16) that causes us to hate and bully others who don't think like us. It makes us want to run out and take down all our enemies. And how do we accomplish this according to the movie? By never changing or questioning ourselves or our methods. We just have to keep believing what we believe and if we shout loud enough, our enemies will eventually bend to our beliefs and we can celebrate as they die in the streets.
There is no conversation, no admittance of possible doubt, and no bridge for people of other belief systems to cross over. It's the mindset that lead to the Crusades in the Middle Ages. (It's too long to explain. Type it in google if you want a refresher).
I adhered to this system of belief for a significant portion of my life... but in my experience, it doesn't work. I have never seen someone debate the existence of God until the other side says, "Oh my gosh, you're right. I believe that now"... I have never seen a Christian shout louder and an atheist respond "Now that you raised your volume, I think I see your point"...
The only times where I have seen real progress made between to opposite belief systems is when we are willing to admit we don't know everything, meet people where they need us, and simply love them, whether they come to believe like us or not.